It’s easy to be skeptical about a film that shoves in as many heroes as Avengers: Age of Ultron does into its almost two and a half hour runtime. Even seasoned Marvel director Joss Whedon has expressed how much of a “juggling act” it was combing the returning heroes with the new ones. So how does Age of Ultron hold up to it’s massively successful predecessor Avengers (2012)? Tremendously well.
In case you live under a rock and haven’t seen one of the millions of trailers released for Avengers: Age of Ultron, the film is centered around a psychotic, artificially intelligent, robot (somewhat) accidentally created by Tony Stark and Bruce Banner in hopes of developing a safe AI program to help protect the world from threats. When the AI grows to resent humans for what they’ve done to the world/existing in general, he gathers an army of Ultrons to take down the Avengers. Age of Ultron picks up after the events of Captain America : Winter Soldier, which left the S.H.I.E.L.D. organization disbanded and in the dust. This creates an opportunity for the Avengers to tackle saving the world on their own terms. This was great to see, because it felt like for the first time the Avengers were in control of their own fates and weren’t just errand boys for Nick Fury. Of course, having the freedom to do whatever they feel is necessary for world peace does open a whole new can of worms.
As mentioned above, it seemed like a challenging feat to get all of these heroes into the same film. I think after Spiderman 3 we’re all a little uneasy about cramming a movie with too many characters and subplots that ultimately dull the audience. However, Marvel and Joss Whedon have magnificently brought back the old crew and the new cast without over-indulging and leaving us overwhelmed. Iron Man, Thor and Hulk, as well as Hawkeye and Black Widow, all bring back the same charm and quirks we all expected, and some characters were even given a few more layers this time around. Hawkeye’s role in the first Avengers was rather unexciting and left him for the most part as a drone for Loki’s army until he’s finally slapped back to reality. Here, he’s given a huge increase in dialogue and action that makes him feel more like an Avenger and less like a background singer. Black Widow is given ample screen time this go around, although that’s to be expected since she’s really gaining traction with fans of the series. (Where is her solo film already??)
We all knew the returning crew were going to bring their A-game but how about all of these new kids joining the team this time around? There are three stand outs. Firstly, the Maximoff twins, Scarlet Witch(Elizabeth Olsen) and Quicksilver(Aaron Taylor-Johnson). I was skeptical about these two from the start. You may remember Quicksilver has already made an appearance in Fox’s X-Men DOFP, played by another actor all together, so it was odd introducing him again as another character with an entirely new background. However, Olsen and Johnson both have excellent chemistry together and it soon became easy watching them take part in all the action. Minor complaints would be that the actor’s accents (meant to be russian) were in-and-out the entire movie. Hopefully they pull a Halle Berry for the next film and drop the accents.
Secondly, we get to meet Paul Bettany’s Vision. Fans will remember that Bettany has been Iron Man’s loyal AI program, JARVIS, but this time steps out from the mainframe to became a full on member of the Avengers. Knowing very little about Vision going in, I didn’t know what to expect. What we got was a quiet, yet powerful, addition to the team. From the get go this is a likable character and Whedon wastes no time in integrating him into the team. He proves to be a strong ally and has what appears to be the best moment in the entire film. I won’t give it away but upon seeing the film twice, his moment definitely garners several gasps. You’ll enjoy it.
A film jam packed with Superheroes can only be as good as their villain and Ultron (James Spader) will not disappoint. Spader is as fresh as ever as the maniacal robot hell-bent on destroying the Avengers once and for all. He brings life to this character (literally) and while you’ll never feel heartbroken for Ultron, you’ll understand his beef with the world and more importantly Tony Stark. Ultron is actually so fun to watch that I feel he would be a great character to bring back every so often ala Tom Hiddleston’s Loki (who for the first time doesn’t appear in the film at all). Ultron is sassy yet terrifyingly startling at times, even going so far in one scene to really push that PG-13 rating when an african weapons thug compares Ultron to his creator Iron Man. Ultimately you’ll enjoy the hell out of this villain.
My few complaints are pretty nit-picky as most of the film is a solid addition to the Marvel CU. There is a dip in the middle of the film where the Avengers have to regroup which feels like its lagging. I stepped out to use the restroom (second viewing) and hit up the concessions stand and we were still in their safe house scene just standing around. However the film is bookended with great action pieces and of course the Iron man/Hulk battle which everyone is going to be talking about for a while. There is also clear similarities to the first movie which make this one feel a bit recycled. For example, the Avengers are again “torn apart” by each other and have to realize that working together is whats best for the team. Haven’t we already gotten over these insecurities? Age of Ultron also feels like a filler movie, holding place in line until all this Infinity stone nonsense is handled. We get it, Marvel, you’re building to this big galactic battle and with your schedule already released for the next five years, there are no surprises to be had anymore. I wish we would just get to these big events sooner instead of cramming crap like Ant-Man down our throats first. But, hey, these movies sell so the studio is going to do whatever necessary to get people in these seats.
All in all I’d rate the Avengers: Age of Ultron rather highly as it was a typical, fun, summer blockbuster. Marvel fans and casual movie goers alike will all enjoy this film. Its funny and has heart and has a satisfying amount of action involved. If you’re considering whether or not to see this film, GO NOW WHY ARE YOU WAITING? Check out Avengers: Age of Ultron in theaters now. Stay Entertained.